Safin reaches third round

Updated: 25 February 2007 08:28 IST

Marat Safin easily advanced to the third round of the Paris Masters, beating David Nalbandian 6-3, 6-2 and earning a spot in the season-ending Masters Cup.

Safin reaches third round

Paris:

Marat Safin easily advanced to the third round of the Paris Masters, beating David Nalbandian 6-3, 6-2 and earning a spot in the season-ending Masters Cup. Safin, seeking his first title this year, had little trouble against the 20-year-old Wimbledon finalist from Argentina. The Russian, a former US Open champion and winner here, kept up a steady supply of power groundstrokes and thundering serves, sealing victory after an hour and 2 minutes with an ace. The win assured Safin a berth in the eight-man Masters Cup in Shanghai, China, which runs from November 12-19. So far, the world's top two players, Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi, are the only others to have qualified for the Cup. The five remaining berths will be decided in Paris, the last Masters Series event of the year. Safin is hoping to reassert himself after a string of poor results in recent weeks. He exited the St Petersburg Open and the Madrid Masters in the second round and is trying to fine-tune his game before Russia meets France in the Davis Cup final next month. In other matches, rising Thai player Paradorn Srichaphan eliminated fourth-seeded Juan Carlos Ferrero in a stunning straight-set upset. Fresh from a victory at the Stockholm Open, Paradorn beat the Spaniard 6-2, 6-3. Paradorn, who has had wins over Hewitt, Agassi and Safin in the past four months, started the year outside the top 100. With Wednesday's win he is expected to move into the top 20 when the new rankings are released next week, ATP officials said. "When I go on court, I feel like I can beat anybody," Paradorn said. "I feel like I can play all these guys. I feel a lot of confidence". Ferrero, who is fourth in the ATP Champions Race, still has a chance of qualifying for the Masters Cup. French players fared well on Wednesday. Titleholder and seventh-seeded Sebastien Grosjean beat Kenneth Carlsen of Denmark, 7-6(2), 7-5. Nicolas Escude pleased the home crowd in an earlier match, eliminating Spain's Albert Costa, this year's French Open champion, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. Escude next faces Britain's Tim Henman, who won his second-round match against Radek Stepanek 6-1, 7-5. Stepanek upset former world No 1 Gustavo Kuerten in the first round. Ninth-seeded Tommy Haas of Germany and Switzerland's Roger Federer won their matches on Wednesday and will face each other in the third round. Haas beat Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia, 6-7(7), 6-4, 6-4, while Federer, seeded eighth, eliminated Belgian Xavier Malisse 6-2, 6-4. (AP)

Topics : Tennis
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